Hazardous substances in the workplace
Workers may be exposed to hazardous substances, such as asbestos, explosives or acids. Employers must ensure that their employees are able to work with hazardous substances in the safest possible way.
Substances hazardous to workers
Workers in, for example, the cleaning industry, agriculture, healthcare and heavy industry often work with hazardous substances. Hazardous substances include:
- toxic substances;
- explosive substances;
- carcinogenic and mutagenic substances;
- substances that damage fertility or the unborn child.
Employers must protect workers from hazardous substances
Employers must do what they can to protect their employees from the risks of hazardous substances in the workplace. For instance, they can:
- identify the risks present in the organisation;
- educate employees about hazardous substances in the workplace;
- distribute personal protective equipment to employees, such as masks and protective clothing.
Transport and storage of hazardous substances
The transport and storage of hazardous substances (such as flammable or toxic substances) can pose a danger to humans and the environment. That’s why there are strict rules on the transport and storage of hazardous substances.
Labels on hazardous substances
Any company that uses hazardous substances in its products must indicate the fact on the label, using hazard symbols and safety instructions.
Regulations on hazardous substances
Companies must be aware of the risks of the substances they produce, process or sell to customers. They must also take precautions to manage those risks. The rules on hazardous substances can be found in:
- Installations (Public Safety) Decree and the Installations (Public Safety) Order
- Environmental Management Act